a network of relatives within which individuals possess certain mutual

rights and obligations.

Rules of Descent: connect individuals w/ sets of kin because of known or

 presumed ancestry

Descent Group: publicly recognized social entity requiring lineal descent from a particular real or mythical ancestor for membership.

Systems of Kinship

Bilateral Kinship

NOT a descent group affiliates people of close blood relatives through both sexes. relatives of father and mother equally important. ego centered kindred: persons relating to you by blood.

Only brothers and sisters can have same kindred. western societies and foraging societies

Bilateral Kinship


Unilineal groups

trace kinship through one parent

degrees of relation are traced "upward”

4 systems


 both males and females affiliate kin through the father's side only transmitted only by sons to offspring

Usually found where need to organize male labor

Example: Traditional Chinese

Matrilineal reckon kin of both genders through women only. usually share power with brothers usually found where women’s work important. example: Trobriand Islanders

Clans based on matrilineal decent

Clan leadership passed from sister to brother’s son